Enjoy an Affordable Lifestyle in Guanajuato, Mexico


By Glynna Prentice | International Living

If you’re looking to retire in a lively college town with plenty of activities, you should look to scenic Guanajuato, Mexico.

This state capital in central Mexico is a UNESCO World Heritage city, filled with Spanish-colonial buildings. It offers more activities and cultural events than you can possibly manage—thanks to being the main campus of the state university. And to top things off, in Guanajuato, rentals and home purchases are still very affordable.

Rent in Guanajuato from $300 a month

Expat James Pyle, who’s lived in Guanajuato for over a decade and works as a real estate buyers’ representative, estimates that a simple, unfurnished studio or one-bedroom apartment in Guanajuato can rent for as little as $300 a month. “Very nice” homes, he says, run in the $750 to $900 range. At the other extreme, large three- to four-bedroom homes with all amenities can rent for $1,500 to $2,500 a month—and he has indeed placed major business executives in homes at these prices.

If you want to buy a home, decent expat-quality housing can run you in the $100,000 to $150,000 range. (Of course, you can pay more if you want—higher-priced homes are available.) As examples, I saw a two-story, two-bedroom property is for sale. It has 1,000 square feet of space for $99,000, and a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom house with a terrace for $110,000.

A low cost of living

Daily living costs are relatively low in Guanajuato. Most supermarket items run about 30% below what you’d pay in the U.S. But the real advantage is the many local items. This area is the strawberry capital of Mexico, for instance—and the growing season starts early in the year. A kilo of luscious, ripe strawberries—2.2 pounds—can cost as little as $1.20 in the local markets. Mexican specialties like cactus paddle and chiles can cost pennies on the dollar—and they’re fresh. (Vendors sell the cactus paddle—nopal—with its many spines already cut off by hand…and if you prefer your cactus pre-prepared, you can buy it as nopalitos—cut into strips and already cooked.)

Of course, part of the fun of living in a college town is going out. The restaurant scene in Guanajuato is short on fine dining, say expats who live there—for gourmet meals, you need to head to San Miguel de Allende, about 50 miles away. But Guanajuato has plenty of decent eateries where you can get a good, pleasant dinner for $10 or less….and comidas corridas, or fixed-price lunches, starts at about $4.

Many cultural events, from film festivals to concerts, are free in Guanajuato. But even for-pay performances are generally affordable. A concert by a top-ranked Mexican orchestra took place while I was there, for instance; the ticket price was about $8.50, and friends who attended it said it was excellent.

Note, though, that you’ll need to learn Spanish if you live here long-term. Unlike San Miguel de Allende, where about one out of every eight people is an English-speaker, Guanajuato is a Spanish-speaking city. Fortunately, this is a great place to study Spanish, and many people do. (James Pyle, for instance, first came to Guanajuato to take Spanish classes.)

And with so many activities, you definitely have plenty of incentive to learn…and to practice.


Top 3 Places for Expats Who Want to Move to Mexico


By Banderas News

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – It becomes almost everyone’s dream at some point or another, packing everything up and moving to Mexico to spoil yourself on a beach and live a kicked-back lifestyle with your feet in the sand and a consistent need for sunglasses.

We’ve put together a short list of the places we think are the best cities for expats who are interested in owning a home in Mexico:

Tulum: Previously just a tiny little village with fish shacks and little homes, this Mexican Caribbean paradise has exploded into a dream. There isn’t much to complain about when you’ve got the Great Mayan Reef right off shore for your snorkeling and scuba diving enjoyment, as well as plenty of ancient Mayan ruins and white sandy beaches as far as you can see.

Puerto Vallarta: One of the most popular Mexican beach towns since before the 1960s, Vallarta is known for its incredible ocean views and immense diversity in terms of things to do around the city. Here you will find everything from aquatic sports, hiking, mountain biking, yoga communities, and much more. It’s definitely a perfect place to live if you’re looking to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

San Miguel de Allende: Maybe the beach isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. In that case, San Miguel de Allende is a gem you won’t want to miss. Many expats believe it’s the best place to live abroad in a colonial city. Food, shopping, architecture, and lots of friendly people make for a fantastic place to live in Mexico.

Here at MEXLend we are the most experienced mortgage brokers in Mexico. We provide residential loans for people who are buying a home in Mexico almost every day, and have the only US dollar loan available in the whole country.



Five Reasons To Retire In Cabo San Lucas Mexico

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By Tiffany McAdams  |  Escape Artist

Everybody dreams about what they are going to do for their retirement. Many of us dream of retiring abroad. It is frequent conversation among us all. Whether you have just won the lottery, are a dot-com millionaire, or have been working hard for the last forty years, there are innumerable reasons why you should consider retiring in Cabo San Lucas. Here we go over 5 reasons to retire in Cabo San Lucas.

1) Location, Location, Location

This is the first reason to retire in Cabo San Lucas. Many people are interested in retiring abroad. It is a great opportunity to start a new chapter in your life. There are so many great destinations around the world, but when you think about the practicality of actually living there, things get more difficult.

MexicoMost people enjoy spending the holidays with their family, attending graduations and other typical events. Nonetheless, the farther you go from home, the fewer of these things you can attend. Even if you can afford to fly back often, the logistics simply do not always work out.

For this reason, Cabo’s location is perfect if you are thinking about retiring in Mexico. With direct flights to cities across the U.S., you can be home in no time. Not only is it a regional hub, but you can also travel to anywhere in the world by connecting through Mexico City.


2) Choices for Everyone

Although we generally refer to Cabo San Lucas as Cabo, the area is comprised of two towns that are about fifteen miles apart. What people generally think of as Cabo is San Lucas. San Lucas is touristy, bustling, and filled with different nightlife options.

For some people this may seem a little too busy, but what’s nice is that it provides excitement to the area because of the selection of restaurants, bars, and shopping. It is also located on the harbor, so it is a great place to have an evening cocktail as the sun goes down.

At the other end is San Jose. San Jose is more relaxed, traditional, and quiet than San Lucas. It is the yin to the other’s yang. San Jose has a splendid little.

Downtown area that is great for evening strolls. It is also much more in touch with Mexican culture and is home to countless festivals and other types of celebrations.

Looking at these two different towns, it might be hard to choose between one and the other if you decide to retire in Cabo San Lucas. For this second reason, most expats choose to live in between San Lucas and San Jose, so they can choose where they wish to spend the evening depending on their mood.

3) Natural Beauty

Cabo is the desert on the water, which makes it a very unusual and stunning place to live. It is ringed by a series of mountains and cliffs that overlook the Sea of Cortez. Because of this proximity to the water, there a multitude of watersports you can do – from sport fishing to surfing. In addition, the desert provides all kinds of land activities like hiking and ATV riding.

Most of the year, the weather is very pleasant, and it is just hot enough to comfortably enjoy the ocean. Not only this, most of the nights are quite warm, so you can take a stroll through the downtown.

4) Incredible Food

Being perfectly situated in a coastal region, Cabo obviously has incredible seafood. Ceviche reigns supreme in both the fanciest restaurants and the humblest holes in the wall. In addition, since it is a resort destination, there is an incredible amount of fine dining options that can satisfy any palate.

Furthermore, many chefs predict that Mexican food is going to be the next big thing, and a lot of the innovation is coming straight out of Cabo. Restaurants like Toro and Habanero’s Gastro Grill are putting a modern spin on Mexican classics.

Finally, one absolute must is Flora Farms, which began as a small, organic farm and has expanded into an incredible restaurant and bed-and-breakfast. All their dishes and beverages are made with ingredients grown on site, which really brings new meaning to the term farm-to-table.

5) A Welcoming Place

Remember the feeling of being the new kid at school or a new employee at the office? Nobody enjoys that. One of the best things about retiring in Cabo San Lucas is that whether you are a local, a frequent visitor, or first-time tourist, people there make you feel at home. As the economy is mainly driven by tourism, some of this is to be expected, but a major part of the culture of the area goes way beyond this.

People there are simply friendly, and travelers from all over the world seem to agree on this. 94% of people said that traveling in Mexico had “exceeded their expectations,” while nearly 90% said they would like to return in the next six months.

This is the reason why everybody knows the traditional Mexican expression, “mi casa es su casa,” and Cabo is probably the best example of it. And this fifth reason to retire in Cabo San Lucas is maybe the most important.

What are YOU waiting For?

Planning for your retirement abroad is extremely important, especially when making sure that your money is in the right hands – so you can enjoy yourself without having to stress.  After you have taken care of these essential steps, you can move on to making sure you choose the right area to settle down in. The best thing you can do is visit some different places and see what you like and do not like. It is important to remember, however, that visiting somewhere is of course much different than actually living there.

When you have narrowed down your choices, try to figure out a time when you can actually stay there for at least a month and get into an everyday routine. Usually when we travel, we go out more and do more exciting things. So it is important to see what it is like to live their under normal day-to-day circumstances.

Nonetheless, if you like good weather, a convenient location, friendly people, variety, and incredible food, then retiring abroad in Cabo should not be a difficult decision. So next time you have a chance, take a little trip down to Cabo – chances are you will not want to leave!


Why Ensenada, Baja California, Is a Great Place to Retire

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By Kaitlin Pitsker | Kiplinger


Nearest large city: 
San Diego

What $300,000 will buy: 
Loma Dorada home with 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a rooftop terrace, a half-block from the ocean.

As you drive south from San Diego past the Mexican border, the nearly uninterrupted development of southern California and Tijuana quickly gives way to breathtaking coastal views of the Baja California peninsula. The well-maintained four-lane road hugs the rocky shoreline and passes through Mexican towns and small communities until, 65 miles south of Tijuana, you round one final bend and Ensenada stands before you.

Ensenada is often described as “Old Mexico,” but the downtown area also has an international vibe. Walking along the wide, brick sidewalks, you’ll find no shortage of traditional Mexican restaurants, bars showing soccer games and street vendors selling souvenirs, churros and fish tacos. In fact, Ensenada is reputedly where the fish taco originated, as well as home to the bar that invented the margarita. But you’ll also spot restaurants experimenting with lighter, Mediterranean-inspired Mexican fare, as well as French, Thai and Chinese cuisine. Cruise ships drop off passengers for a few hours four days a week, temporarily transforming the main thoroughfare into a much busier place.

Thousands of U.S. expats call Ensenada home. Retiring abroad appeals to Americans seeking a different culture and lower cost of living, and Mexico earned the top spot on International Living’s 2017 list of retirement havens abroad. The mild climate and warm, easygoing culture in which even new acquaintances often hug goodbye don’t hurt, either. Speaking Spanish is helpful but not necessary.

Ensenada’s proximity to the border makes it particularly appealing. Many retirees opt to use a mix of Mexican and U.S. doctors so they can continue to see their stateside providers while paying less for some procedures south of the border. “We live in the best of two worlds here,” says Tillie Foster, 85, who moved to Ensenada from Orange County, Calif. Retirees can live comfortably on $1,500 a month and still have access to most of what they’re accustomed to back home, she says.

Many expats in the area choose to live in communities a few miles away from downtown Ensenada, such as Bajamar to the north and Punta Banda to the south. Homes that would cost $500,000 or more in San Diego typically sell for $200,000 to $300,000 here, and people looking for an unimpeded ocean view can find property for about $400,000. Mexico limits the number of foreigners who can purchase coastal real estate, but you can still buy residential property in restricted areas if you pay the bank a few hundred dollars a year to hold the property in trust. Property tax rates are reasonable—usually about 0.1% of a home’s assessed value. And renters can find modest options close to the water for about $500 a month, or homes with an ocean view starting at about $1,500 a month.

A short drive north of Ensenada lies the Guadalupe Valley, known as the Napa Valley of Mexico. Informal Facebook groups of expats gather to practice yoga on the beach weekly; others volunteer with local organizations. Or you can just chill out and watch the sunset over the ocean while listening to the seals bark from the nearby fishing docks.

One cultural quirk that many Americans say takes some getting used to: Things run on Mexican time. It’s not unusual for people to be 15 or even 30 minutes late, because south of the border, people are more important than schedules.


Retired in Mexico: A Breakdown of Our Monthly Expenses

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Before moving to Mexico in 2015, I spent hours searching for information online about the specific costs associated with living south of the border — but I never found anything. The sites I stumbled across would only say that the cost of living was cheaper. Cheaper than what?

Words like cheap and expensive are very subjective and are worthless without hard numbers to back them up. That’s why I post my expenses down to the peso every six months online. My goal is to help other people who are thinking of making the move better plan financially.

It’s important to point out that Mexico is a large country and the cost of living varies significantly from one area to the next. We live in a popular tourist destination along the coast of the Riviera Maya, so the cost of living is significantly higher here than in many other parts of Mexico. Nevertheless, we think it’s worth it in order to be spend our days on a beautiful Caribbean beach.

Monthly Household Expenses

Entertainment Budget

We didn’t move to Mexico to just sit inside and watch the ceiling fan spin around — we came to enjoy every moment of it.  As a result, we spend an average of $20,300 pesos ($1,122 USD) a month on traveling, eating out, staying at hotels and doing a wide range of other activities that we find “entertaining”.

Annual Expenses People Ask Me About

After the last budget that I posted, a few readers asked me about property taxes, property insurance and vehicle registration. I figured that I would beat them to it this time:

What About Your Mortgage/Rent and Car Payment?

These are normally the two largest reoccurring expenses in a anyone’s budget. Prior to moving to Mexico, I knew that we would be more successful if we could find a way to eliminate them altogether.

Although we had a mortgage and a car payment in Florida, after selling everything and eliminating our debt, we were able to afford a small condo and a car here in Mexico. We now live 100% debt free for the first time in our adult lives.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Readers often ask me how much money they’ll need a month to live in Mexico. That magic number depends on three important factors: 1) location, 2) the amount of debt you have, and 3) the type of lifestyle you want. As you can see, the amount can vary quite a bit.

In this article, I showed you how a couple could live on less than $2,300 a month in paradise while still enjoying a very active lifestyle.

We could easily live on less each month by simply cutting money from the entertainment budget and staying home more — but where’s the fun in that?



7 Steps to Retire in Your 50s

Birthday cupcake with chocolate sprinkles and lighted candles

By Jeff Rose | U.S. News

Early retirement rarely happens by chance. Like any other big goal, early retirement requires intricate planning, serious dedication and a whole lot of work. If your goal is retiring before age 50, the time to start laying the groundwork is now. Here are some steps aspiring early retirees should implement right away.

1. Make as much money as you can. Retiring early on your regular salary may not be easy if you don’t earn a lot. It helps to find ways to make as much money as you can. By boosting your income through investing, part-time work or some other means, you can increase the amount of cash you have and put it to work for you.

Of course, your early retirement goal will come easier if you start investing as early as you can. If your goal is retirement at 50, you need to start saving with your first paycheck. “One factor that makes early retirement much more difficult is the fact you have a lot less time to save,” says Taylor Schulte, a certified financial planner for Define Financial in San Diego. “While it may not seem like it now, those extra ten or 20 years in the workforce can make a huge difference.”

2. Build up non-qualified assets. Earning more and saving more will help you retire early, but where you stash that money matters, too. The biggest hurdle for early retirees is to effectively bridge the income gap, according to Joseph Azzopardi, a certified financial planner for The Well Planned Retirement in Orange County, California. “Before clients can tap into Social Security and other sources of retirement assets, they’re going to need a plan to bridge their income in the early years.”

This is where assets held outside of retirement accounts come into play. Non-qualified assets can include an array of options, such as taxable brokerage accounts, cash investments and certificates of deposit. “If you plan on retiring before age 50 you will need to build up your non-qualified assets,” says Alex Whitehouse, a financial advisor for Whitehouse Wealth Management in Vancouver, Washington. “Qualified assets, such as IRAs or 401(k)s, have a 10 percent penalty if you withdraw funds prior to 59 1/2. In order to avoid penalties, enough should be saved in non-qualified accounts to provide adequate income until the qualified accounts can be accessed penalty-free.”

3. Invest in a Roth IRA. Early retirees shouldn’t overlook the Roth IRA. These accounts are funded with after-tax dollars, so you can withdraw your contributions from your Roth IRA at any time without penalty or taxes. If you plan to use your Roth IRA for the goal of early retirement, aim to max out your Roth IRA from now until you’re ready to leave the workforce. However, keep in mind that you can’t withdraw your earnings without a penalty until you’re age 59 1/2 or older unless certain specifications are met. You can contribute up to $5,500 to a Roth IRA in 2017, provided you meet the income requirements. By taking advantage of these accounts, you can build up tax-free money you can access at any time.

4. Reduce your mortgage payment or pay it off completely. If you have a 30-year mortgage and plan to retire before the end of the term, you can also consider refinancing your mortgage so its end date coincides with your ideal retirement date, says Anthony Montenegro, founder of Blackmont Advisors in Orange County, California. “This way you have more liquidity to use towards other necessary expenses in retirement.”

If you’re unable to refinance or don’t want to for any reason, you can also pay extra toward the principal of your loan to pay it off early. While it’s possible to retire early while you still owe money on your house, it’s a lot easier to afford early retirement when you don’t have a mortgage hanging over your head.

5. Reduce your spending and learn to live on less. Retiring early requires savvy investing, but work needs to be done on the spending end, too. In other words, if you want to retire early and stay retired, you must keep your spending in check. “Get clear about what actually brings you joy in life, and avoid spending money on everything else,” says Brian Hanks, an Idaho financial planner and author of “How to Buy a Dental Practice.” “If you can keep your monthly budget low, not only will you need a smaller pile of money to retire with at age 50, but you’ll have the discipline to keep spending low when you are ready to walk away from your job.”

6. Build multiple streams of income, including passive income. Most people save a certain amount in their work-sponsored 401(k) accounts until they have enough to retire. Early retirees know they need more than the income from their jobs to get by.

One way to set yourself up for retirement is to create multiple income streams, including streams that are passive, according to Jude Wilson, founder and chief financial strategist of Wilson Group Financial in Orlando, Florida. With passive income, you can set up a system once and collect checks effortlessly for the long haul. Passive income streams to consider could include peer-to-peer lending, a taxable brokerage account, buying rental property or investing in real estate investment trusts. The more streams of income you have coming in, the better off you’ll be.

7. Hire a fee-only financial planner to help you achieve your goals. Most people who retire early have a carefully crafted plan that took decades to execute, often with the help of a qualified financial planner. “One step that must be completed to retire at age 50 is to hire and develop a trusting relationship with an independent fiduciary-based retirement advisor who can create a retirement plan using the best from the securities world and the best from the insurance world,” says Matthew Jackson, a financial advisor for Solid Wealth Advisors in Fort Collins, Colorado. “Don’t get fooled into thinking the tools and strategies you use to retire at age 50 will be the best tools and strategies you will use to stay retired for, hopefully, many decades.” While you can do it on your own, having professional help can help you get there faster.

Prudent saving and investing are essential to retire early, but it’s equally important to know the purpose of your early retirement. “Retiring at age 50 is a great goal, but knowing and affirming the purpose of it all is what will help you make early retirement a reality,” says Morgan Ranstrom, a financial planner for Trailhead Planners in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Whether its traveling the world, spending more time with family or transitioning into volunteer work you really care about, knowing your ‘why’ will make all the difference.”

Those who do the best retiring early have a great sense of purpose in their lives other than a life of leisure. “Money is a great tool to fund a purpose, but it cannot help us find a purpose,” says Don Roork, a financial planner for AssetDynamics Wealth Management in Toledo, Ohio. “Once you have the cash, but before you pull the retirement trigger, take the step of finding a retirement purpose that matters just as much as having the money.”



The Best Destinations in the Riviera Maya


By Thomas Lloyd | topmexicorealestate.com

You have asked, we have listened… Here are our 5 favorite destination spots in the Riviera Maya to retire.

Please read below, as to why we choose these specific places in the Riviera Maya! We hope we made your retirement decisions a little easier for you!

Playa Del Carmen:

We have voted Playa del Carmen as our top best destination spot to retire in the Riviera Maya because it has everything. From miles and miles of white sandy beaches, to Brazilian steak houses and some of the best Mexican cuisines you can find. Most importantly, it is well equipped with fantastic medical care, dentistry needs, among other health care practitioners. Salons for those who like to get freshened up every now and then. Wonderful cafes scattered around the town, with free wireless internet access available to their customers. Playa del Carmen at one point was the fast growing city in Latin America. It is located in the perfect spot. Only 45 minutes away from Cancun International Airport, which is convenient for friends and family to come for a visit. It is also only 20 minutes away from some amazing eco-parks. Akumal and Tulum are only minutes down the highway. If you are looking for a perfect place to retire, Playa del Carmen is highly recommended. You want a gated community, with access to the beach and a common pool area to use on your own time? Well, Top Mexico Real Estate can find you a place that meets all your needs.


Let’s talk about the beautiful-serene town of Tulum. The distance between Playa del Carmen and Tulum is only 45 minutes and 1.5 hours from Tulum to Cancun. Making it very accessible to reach a bigger city for your different needs. Tulum is famous for their turquoise waters and white sand beaches, but on top of that… their Mayan archaeological site from the 13th century. Tulum’s national park is situated to overlook the beautiful Caribbean Sea. This archaeological site is one of the most fascinating Mayan walled cities in the world. Although Tulum is not as big as Playa del Carmen, it still has all the main necessities you will need such as: Doctors, Grocery Stores, Salons, Restaurants, Beaches and more. The real estate marketing in Tulum is growing every day! This eco-friendly, hippy loving beach town will surely put a smile on your face as long as you are here!


Bacalar is known for it’s seven color lagoon pictured above. It is located 40 km north of Chetumal, which is the closest big city. Chetumal is where you go if you want to take a boat across to Belize. From Playa del Carmen it takes roughly three hours. Bacalar is one of our top destinations because it is the epitome of pleasure. You feel like you’re in the jungle, mixed with this incredible lagoon. It is a hidden paradise off the beaten path. There is vacant land for sale around the area if you are looking to build.


Have you heard your friends or family members talk about that cool little fishing village, where you can snorkel with large sea turtles for free? Well yes, that would be Akumal! This amazing small town has a great coral reef, where you can see lots of colorful fish, big turtles and other interesting sea creatures. Akumal is only 25 minutes away from Playa del Carmen, making it very easy to commute back and forth when needed. It is a small, beachfront neighborhood in Mexico. There are a lot of North Americans that have property in this area.


Yes, we can’t forget about Cancun. A great city with all the amenities you would ever need. Not many big cities are surrounded by some of the top rated beaches in the world. Not to mention restaurants with world-class chefs, and some of the best shopping in the world. Of course Cancun has a wide selection of medical care and real estate. Being the big city like it is, makes it easier for you to find the best places and necessities for the best price. If you are into golfing, Cancun is a golfers dream. If you like culture and history, Cancun is filled with it. Although it is a big city, it is still enriched with Mayan civilization. Cancun is also known for it’s fishing. There are way too many things to do in Cancun to include everything, but it is definitely a place to enjoy if you like having all your necessities in walking distance from you as well as the beach.

We hope you enjoy one of our top five best destination spots in the Riviera Maya for your retirement, and you see for yourself just how amazing life here in Mexico really is!